Mystery of the Missing Fox
by Tamra Wight
Islandport Press
April, 2016
middle grade

When our family goes camping, I make my kids keep journals. They can put anything they want in their journals but they must add a page a day. When they return to school after the summer, they never complain that they have nothing to write about and this makes me glad for the journal. Camping brings out the best in my children. They reconnect with nature. They laugh a bit more. They discover the joy of doing nothing. We hike, cook, swim, and read a lot. If someone asks my kids their favorite thing to do in the summer, they will always say camping. It’s also great for me because my husband and I do a complete role reversal. He takes care of everything. He sets up the tent, cooks, cleans, and manages the kids. I sit and read and pour coffee or wine depending on the time of day.

Tamra Wight’s third Cooper and Packrat book, Mystery of the Missing Fox is the book for kids who love camping or who dream of camping. Wight does a wonderful job of bringing us into the day-to-day experiences that make up the life of a campground owner. As in each of the books in this series, Wight shares facts about an animal throughout the book. In this one, the reader learns about red foxes. Cooper lives at the campground with his parents and sister Molly. They are just about to open the campground for the season when Cooper’s dad is hurt. The campers from previous summers come to help open the campground. While working hard to accomplish this task, Cooper and his friends find a family of red foxes and work to protect them from a possible poacher. The relationships between the four friends: Cooper, Packrat, Roy, and Summer are realistic and relatable. Kids who love realistic stories where they can see themselves will love this series. In this book, Cooper becomes a deeper character in that he must learn who he is in order to truly help his mother through this crisis. Wight does a really nice job of helping us see how hard this is for him and of how much he learns from observing the family of red foxes.

We have lost our connections to the natural world. Books such as Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv detail what this loss of nature will do to our species long term. When we let ourselves quiet down and spend time in nature we learn who we are and where we fit in to the world. Tamra Wight helps her characters find this peace and shows readers how critical it is to find their peace as well.